by Richard Peachey
[Featured as an advertorial in Cascade News, University of the Fraser Valley student newspaper, Oct. 16, 2009]
On those occasions when they’re trying to impress us with the “truth” of evolution, Darwinists often speak of their process in glowing, majestic terms — as in the following quote from the late Stephen Jay Gould, who for three decades was North America’s leading evolutionary spokesman:
“For sheer excitement, evolution, as an empirical reality, beats any myth of human origins by light-years. . . . When truth value and visceral thrill thus combine, then indeed, as Darwin stated in closing his great book, ‘there is grandeur in this view of life’ ” (Science 284:2087, 1999).
But when they’re being a little more realistic, Darwinists acknowledge that evolution is an extremely nasty way to generate biodiversity.
A few years ago, Psychology Today magazine decided to host what turned out to be a very revealing dialogue between Richard Dawkins, currently the world’s most prominent spokesman for atheism and evolution, and Jaron Lanier, the computer scientist who coined the term “virtual reality” (Psychology Today 30(1):59-63, 1997).
Lanier opened the discussion:
“I’m worried that evolution is being used in the wrong way by all sorts of people who otherwise have almost nothing in common. It’s become a banner for New Agers and for many in the hard sciences. This annoys me no end, because evolution is the only natural force that should be understood to be evil. The evolutionary process that created us was cruel.”
“Treating evolution as though it were a good thing is a point of view advanced by English biologist Julian Huxley in the 1920s and 1930s. Huxley tried to make evolution into a kind of religion. In contrast, his grandfather, Thomas Henry Huxley, thought that evolution was a thoroughly bad thing, and I agree with him. I would hold it up as an awful warning.”
Later in the conversation, Lanier said:
“I believe that as a civilization we’ve helped thwart evolution, and that’s good. Every time we help the needy, or make it possible for a handicapped person to live and pass on their genes, we’ve succeeded in defying the process that created us.”
And Dawkins replied, “I believe natural selection represents a truly hideous sum total of misery.”
The views of Thomas Henry Huxley (alluded to by Dawkins, above) on this matter are worth careful consideration. Huxley described his thinking in an 1893 essay titled “Evolution and Ethics” (Selections From the Essays of Thomas Henry Huxley. New York: Appleton, 1948, pp. 105-111):
“As I have already urged, the practice of that which is ethically best—what we call goodness or virtue—involves a course of conduct which, in all respects, is opposed to that which leads to success in the cosmic struggle for existence. In place of ruthless self-assertion it demands self-restraint; in place of thrusting aside, or treading down, all competitors, it requires that the individual shall not merely respect, but shall help his fellows; its influence is directed, not so much to the survival of the fittest, as to the fitting of as many as possible to survive. It repudiates the gladiatorial theory of existence. . . . Let us understand, once for all, that the ethical progress of society depends, not on imitating the cosmic process, still less in running away from it, but in combating it.”
So evolution, according to Huxley (and Dawkins), must become an evil you shun if you are to behave as an upright ethical person!
If the Darwinian process is as vicious as these leading evolutionists say it is (and who will deny that they’re correct?), then I wonder why some Christians seem so eager to attribute such a process to God as his method of creation, prior to the first human sin and its consequent judgment?
Jacques Monod (with two other scientists) won the 1965 Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for elucidating cellular mechanisms of DNA replication and protein synthesis. Shortly before his death in 1976, Monod stated in a TV interview,
“[Natural] selection is the blindest, most cruel way of evolving new species. . . . The struggle for life and elimination of the weakest is a horrible process, against which our whole modern ethics revolts. . . . I am surprised that a Christian would defend the idea that this is the process which God more or less set up in order to have evolution” (“The Secret of Life,” interview with Laurie John, Australian Broadcasting Co., June 10, 1976).
Philosopher David Hull agrees that attributing evolution to God as his creative process makes him look terrible:
“What kind of God can one infer from the sort of phenomena epitomized by the species of Darwin’s Galápagos Islands? The evolutionary process is rife with happenstance, contingency, incredible waste, death, pain and horror. . . . Whatever the God implied by evolutionary theory and the data of natural history may be like, He is not the Protestant God of waste not, want not. He is also not a loving God who cares about His productions. . . . The God of the Galápagos is careless, wasteful, indifferent, almost diabolical. He is certainly not the sort of God to whom anyone would be inclined to pray” (David L. Hull, “The God of the Galápagos” [review of Phillip E. Johnson’s Darwin on Trial]. Nature 352:485f., 1991).
Creationists do recognize evil as a genuine philosophical problem in a world governed by an all-knowing, all-powerful, benevolent Deity. But we understand natural and moral evil as latecomers. When God punished the original human couple, and cursed their world, it was in response to their sinful rebellion against their Creator. In the present world, yes, mutations (genetic defects) are without doubt the agents of biological change in populations. But to view such processes as God’s method of original creation is to characterize as “diabolical” the newly minted, pre-Fall world that God himself evaluated as טוֹב מְאֹד (“very good”).